POWER 50: INTRO

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This, the third annual Power 50, is Advertising Age's distillation of marketing's most influential executives.

Faithful readers will note there are several familiar faces. A handful of executives have made the cut in all three years-including IBM Corp.'s Abby Kohnstamm; Intel Corp.'s Dennis Carter; Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s John Costello; and American Express Co.'s John Hayes. Given that power is often elusive, the fact those executives are making a three-peat appearance is more testament to their marketing acumen.

MERGER ROLE

Corporate megamergers and un-mergers also have played a role in determining today's power players. Huge combinations in telecommunications propelled Bell Atlantic Corp.'s Janet Keeler to the Power 50 this year as well as SBC Communication's Bill Morgan.

A substantial advertising war chest is often a big component in attaining the Power 50, but it isn't always necessary. Because of his role in shaping the beverage marketplace, Starbucks Coffee Co.'s Scott Bedbury, with a $6.3 million media budget, resides on the same page with Pepsi-Cola Co.'s Brian Swette, who controls $400 million in media spending.

GAP CHIEF GAINS

Similarly, The Gap's Michael McCadden's influence on retailing puts him in the same company with Sears' Mr. Costello, although his $40 million U.S. media budget is dwarfed by Sears' $557 million.

New this year is a notation at the end of each profile tracking their numbers of years on AA's Power 50.

Budgets reported in boxes are U.S. media dollars in 1996 tracked by Competitive Media Reporting. Worldwide budgets, including media and other forms of

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